Two men were injured in a Friday morning apartment fire in Southeast Portland.

Ron Rouse, Portland Fire Bureau spokesman said fire crews arrived on scene to the one-story apartment complex in the Creston-Kenilworth neighborhood at 7:17 a.m., two minutes after receiving the first call.

They were greeted by smoke and flames jutting out the backside of an apartment in the 3900 block of Southeast Gladstone.

Rouse said it’s a good thing the firefighters arrived so quickly. “Our crews that arrived went into rescue mode,” he said.

Rouse said he didn’t know the seriousness of the two victims’ injuries, but said they were transported to separate Portland hospitals.

The fire was largely contained to one two-bedroom apartment, though Rouse said a downed electrical line sparked another blaze behind the apartment. He said crews are still investigating the cause of the fire and the estimated damage it caused.

Portland police closed access to Southeast Gladstone Street from Cesar E. Chavez Boulevard on the west side of the scene to 42nd Avenue on the east.

More than an hour after the blaze started, Tom Holiday watched fire crews work with a chain saw to remove smoking shingles on the roof of the building.

Holiday, who lives next door to the burned out apartment with his wife,  Tamara, and cat, Mongo, said he was in bed when he first heard what sounded like firecrackers.

“There was this weird crackling sound,” said Holiday, 34. He also smelled smoke.

Holiday said they have lived in that apartment for about six years, and rarely saw the next-door neighbors, who he described as elderly. Holiday said they stayed inside much of the time and were assisted by in-home caregivers, Holiday said.

Holiday called 911 shortly after they were safely outside, but at that point, he already heard sirens.

This post will be updated as more information becomes available.

— Andrew Theen

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